CNC (computer numerical control) is all about automating movement in order to eliminate human labor (and error). The most well known examples are CNC mills and routers, which are capable of produce extremely accurate and precise cuts. FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) 3D printers are also CNC machines that follow g-code to extrude thermoplastic and form parts. If a series of machine movements is definable (and most movements are), then it is a candidate for CNC automation. Teddy Warner took that idea to heart when they built the Pizza-Pizza CNC Machine, which can prepare little pizzas for the oven so you don’t have to.
Possible pizza chain trademark infringements aside, this is a completely custom project. Warner, a high school senior in North Carolina, designed this machine from the ground-up with the sole purpose of preparing pizza. It makes small personal pizzas with three ingredients: the pizza dough, sauce, and cheese. The user has to place the dough and additional toppings (like pepperoni) themselves, so this machine can’t churn out pizzas on its own without human support. But it does handle the messy steps that pizzerias pay big money for their employees to manage.
The machine’s frame is a combination of aluminum extrusion and parts 3D-printed in PETG material. Instead of linear rails or hardened steel rods, it moves using v-rollers that ride on the aluminum extrusion to keep cost (and weight) down. The machine requires a total of four stepper motors and two servo motors, and an UltiMachine Mini-Rambo 1.3 board controls them all. To dispense sauce or cheese, the machine moves over to pick up the corresponding hopper using a stepper-lifted arm. The hoppers have their own servo-actuated valves that open up to allow their contents to drop down onto the pizza. There isn’t any open source software available for CNC pizza making, so Warner had to write his own g-code routines for the different operations.
The resulting pizzas probably won’t win any visual points, as they look like Lunchables pizzas assembled by children. But Warner’s work is still very impressive and we can’t help but love this project. With some more refinement (and the ability to dispense toppings), the Pizza-Pizza CNC Machine will be a real winner.